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Author Archive: Craig Klugman

About Craig Klugman


by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

After age 40, the risk of developing a cataract increases. By 75 years of age in the U.S.,half of whites, 53 percent of blacks and 61 percent of Latinx develop cataracts. Although rarer, children (under age 15) can also develop cataracts that results in blindness and other visual impairment. In infants, a cataract can effect brain development. Cataracts affect 0.0103% of children worldwide, which comes out to 191,000 cases annually.

Three years ago, Naturepublished a groundbreaking studythat used the eyes own stem cells to regenerate a lens rather than relying on an artificial lens replacement.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Democratic Presidential Candidate Debates in Detroit this week often seemed less about differentiating between the candidates and more like the party trying to figure out its platform. Whereas the first set of debates focused a great deal on the new guard versus the old, this one focused on universal health care versus a public option in a health insurance marketplace. On the progressive left stood Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Yang, and Bill de Blasio who want a universal health plan they call Medicare for All. This plan would remove deductibles, copays, and premiums but it would require higher taxes (some in the debate took issue with the idea of taxes even if it overall saves money).…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The film, “The Farewell” claims to be a movie “based on an actual lie”. Billi is a first generation Chinese-American twenty-something artist living in New York near her parents. After not being awarded a Guggenheim fellowship (a fact she hides from her family), she learns that her parents are heading back to China to visit her grandmother (Nai nai) who has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and has a three-month life expectancy. The catch is that Nai nai does not know about her health situation and the family has decided not to tell her.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

One of the cornerstones of modern bioethics, at least in the area of death and dying, is the notion of autonomy, that people are able to make decisions about medical care at the end of life. One way that they can exercise autonomy is by completing advance directives—directives to physicians and families (i.e. living wills), powers of attorney for health care, and POLSTs. A new federal bill proposed by 3 Republicans (Cramer, Daines, and Blackburn) in the Senate might cut off federal funding for most hospitals that followed patient orders to withdraw and withhold medical care for the purposes of allowing a patient to die:

No funds appropriated by Congress for the purpose of paying (directly or indirectly, in whole or in part) for the provision of health care services shall be paid to any entity, unless the entity certifies to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (referred to in this Act as the “Secretary”) that the entity respects all human life and patient rights by ensuring that any health care practitioner employed by, or utilizing the facilities or resources of, such entity.

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Last week, Amazon announced a new partnership with the UK’s National Health Service(NHS). In this arrangement, when patients ask their Alexa personal digital assistant health questions, the answers will come from the NHS’s website. Instead of scrolling through pages of web results that include some good sources and some not-so-good-sources, people in the UK will find their answers coming from the nation’s health care provider.

The project could be an important step in helping people with access needs. For individuals living with limited mobility, low vision, or who are simply not comfortable with technology, being able to ask for and receive accurate health information with their voice may open a world of knowledge that was harder to access before.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Steven Stryker was 75 years old when he died on May 13 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa. His death was not avoided when health care providers did not perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Stryker had a DNR order even though he, his daughter, and his health care surrogate did not want it. Stryker had some capacity and some deficits, and a court-appointed a professional guardian to control his affairs. That guardian allegedly has a policy of always putting DNR orders on her wards, and thus, Stryker died. The patient, his daughter, his health care power of attorney, and his psychiatrist were all against the DNR.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Few people would say that the system of payment and organ distribution is perfect. About 37 million Americans suffer from kidney disease and 94,831 are candidates (as of July 10, 2019) for kidney transplant. In 2018, 21,167 kidney transplants and 836 combined kidney/pancreas transplants were performed in the U.S. Many ESRD patients (468,000) receive dialysis treatment, usually in privately owned clinics, while 193,000 have received a transplant. The system of distribution of kidneys was changed a year ago, when the system sought to increase the number of successful transplants by decreasing the amount of time a hospital has to accept or refuse an organ.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Wednesday and Thursday nights this week saw a gathering of twenty candidates pursuing the Democratic nomination to run for President of the United States in 2020. Each night, ten candidates discussed hot button issues and current events that are of importance to many Americans. Many of these topics have direct bearing on bioethics and health.

In the area of bioethics, most of the candidates stated that there is a lack of ethical or moral foundation in the executive branch. This is not a call for religion, but rather an acknowledgement of the many conflicts of interest and cases of corruption that define the daily operations of the current administration.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Procreative liberty is an important right in the United States that is frequently under attack these days. As first defined by John Roberts, JD, procreative liberty is the freedom to decide for oneself whether or not to have children. Protecting procreative liberty is important not just for a situation like being able to choose abortion, but also because procreative liberty is about having autonomy over one’s own body. For example, in 1979, China instituted the one child policy—a couple could only legally have a single child—in order to curb exponential population growth. To enforce this policy, couples (mostly in urban areas) were coerced into having abortions, people frequently chose to abort fetuses of the wrong sex, and families with more than one child found themselves hit with punishments that included a loss of health care and education.…

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by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

A controversy last week erupted out of freshman New York Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram Live appearance and follow-up tweet saying that the facilities where the federal government is keeping detained children are “concentration camps.”

The Border Patrol Chief immediately called Ocasio-Cortez’s use of the term, “offensive”. The Israeli Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem, Senator Bernie Sanders, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio felt the term was not appropriate and diminishes what happened in the Holocaust. Others have stated that the correct term is “detention center” since these are people alleged to have broken the law.…

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